A collage is anything you want it to be. By combining images, cut-outs, and other materials, you can create amazing artwork that makes you smile from within. There are many types of collages, but the one talked about here would be the generic collage.
Collage is for everyone. If you are still hesitant about trying it out, let me, an avid collagist, convince you.
How Making Collages Can Help You Heal
Like writing, collages help us convey our thoughts and emotions we do not have the words for. We may simply be exhausted, or we may want to convey our thoughts in images. At the heart of it, collages are more or less the poetry of our minds. All the mess in our minds gets portrayed on a blank canvas with some pictures and some glue. We all project personal meaning onto everything we see. If we are having trouble verbalizing what we are feeling, we can mirror our emotions.
Instead of spending time in ways that are merely distracting us from what we feel, we could turn towards our inner strength and creativity during our time alone instead.
Choosing imagery spontaneously, and then seeing what feelings and ideas arise, can incite new understanding of what you unconsciously believe about yourself and how you feel about your life. Whenever you feel strong feelings that you do not fully understand, take a few moments to spontaneously choose some imagery from an old magazine. Cut out and glue your pictures down without much thought. Then take a few minutes to contemplate what you have chosen.
The History of Collages
Collage techniques were first used at the time of the invention of paper in China, around 2200 years ago. Since then, it has been a popular pastime among scrapbookers around the world. It is said that collage techniques entered the fine art world when Picasso released “Still Life with Chair Caning” in 1912. In the 1960s, collage was employed as a major form of pop art. Collage making was popular with teenagers in the 90s and still is popular today.
Making a Collage
You will definitely be needing scissors, some good-quality glue, and a piece of paper or a canvas. Now take some old magazines, tabloids, or newspapers and cut out anything you like. You can always print out images if you do not want to cut out pictures from magazines. Personally, I like cutting out magazines because it takes more work, which just makes the ultimate result all the more satisfying.
Things you can add to make your collage pop
- Pressed flowers and leaves
- Washi tape
- Leaf and coin impressions (to do this, place the object under the paper and shade over it.)
- Rip the paper or cutouts for some added texture.
- Ribbons or string
- Coloured or handmade paper
- Portions of other artwork or texts (like your favorite poem)
- Found objects
- Old homework
- Your photos and drawings
- Ticket stubs
- Notes from your friends
- Use markers and crayons
- Fabric swatches
- Aluminum foil or cellophane
Also known as decollage, decoupage is essentially the opposite of collage. It is created by tearing, cutting, and removing pieces of an original image. Decoupage can be traced back to Asia before the 12th century.
Making Digital Collages
If you’re interested in making digital collages and do not know where to start, worry not! I will be sharing what I believe is the best way to make collages online.
First, you will need a website or app to make your collage. I have tried many websites and apps to make collages and, so far, I would say Canva is the best one there is. Canva has both basic and premium features, but it has a lot more features in its free version compared to other apps and websites. If you’re unsatisfied with Canva, you can always try Fotor or BeFunky. Whichever website or app you choose, make sure to experiment with all available features. It takes time to get used to a certain interface, so the more you use it, the easier it gets.
Next, you can upload pictures and start creating! If you’re looking for aesthetic-looking pictures, Pinterest, Weheartit, Unsplash, Wikimedia Commons, Nasa images, and Google images are good sources. You can also print out pictures for your paper collages from here.
If you need to remove the background of images, use a background remover online. I usually use this one.
Whether you're making digital collages or traditional collages, it's important to keep all your materials organized. With traditional collages, make sure to get a binder or a box to store all your materials. Trust me, it can get really messy if not stored right.
Here is a recent digital collage I made for a friend:
You can also search for mood board materials online. You can use them for your collages, since mood boards and collages are almost the same.
Some Collage Prompts and Inspiration
Here is a list of some basic collage prompts to get you started! Try making a collage about:
- Your favorite album/band/song
- Your favorite book or movie
- Your ideal outfit or aesthetic
- Your family
- A vivid childhood memory
Hopefully, that was a comprehensive guide to the art of making collages. I wish you the best of luck on your collage-making journey!